I was in the midst of replying to Rob Graham's comment on my first blog post, and it got me thinking about these dime a dozen websites out there that are supposedly aimed at helping buyers and sellers find an agent, but end up being 1) a giant useless contact list or 2) a way to charge agents a lot for little value or 3) a nice way to bring in ad revenue via cost per click advertising.
When I was in the midst of developing my website at www.PinpointAgent.com (sorry, shameless plug), I kept doing Google searches almost daily on the keywords that people seem to use to find real estate agents with (i.e. the obvious "find a real estate agent"). Have you typed that phrase in to Google and taken a look at what comes up? Go ahead and try it now, I'll wait... www.Google.com.
I won't list them here, but you'll find that several of the top results are just big contact lists, preloaded with agent contact information - presumably through a round-up of state by state data on realtors. You go to the site, enter in a zip code and up comes every agent with an office address in that zip code. What's wrong with that? Well, 1) you're listed even if you don't want to be (and I wouldn't want to be associated with some of these sites), 2) it doesn't tell the consumer which zip codes you serve (only where your office is), and 3) I don't know about you, but I don't choose a real estate agent based on a phone number or office zip code.
One thing's for sure, they sure do get top listing in Google. At least one even gets "Sitelinks" (those additional links within your website to key pages, listed under your main site). I've done a lot of work on search engine optimization (SEO), and it sure can help your website out in inching towards the top of search results. But you also have to have traffic, otherwise SEO only gets you so far. Of course, to get traffic, people have to know about you (i.e, be high up in a search engine result, right). A little catch-22 there.
Wow, my posts get long. I have to watch that, so let me wrap up here. My lesson for agents in this post - do everything you can to get into the right profile websites online. But make sure they are not just nameless drones meant only to attract shamelessly high ad revenue (or shamelessly high revenue from agents for that matter). I want to see more agents focusing less on their personal websites, and getting in front of high volume websites that provide equal value to agents and consumers.
I would like to suggest, as in my first entry, that you check out my website at www.PinpointAgent.com and use the promotional code 'activerain' to set up a 6 month free trial. I think it's a pretty sharp system, and if you read my first entry you can learn a bit about what makes it unique. But mainly I am posting here to get some feedback and introduce myself to the community - I have been involved in real estate technology and marketing for quite some time now, and want to know what tools you need to succeed (or to even exist) in our online world.
I'm sure I'll have more to say, and I hope to hear from you too.